The minute you walk in The Hood Pizza Bar & Pizza in Palm Desert, it fits you like a glove.
The bouncer at the door has a unique look. Tough but kind.
The lights dance upon the glistening bar counter as the bartenders, friendly and fast on their feet, poor your favorite frosty beverage. The alluring smell of fresh-cooked pizza wafts from somewhere in the back.
Hungry after a long day of work, you go crazy and order a three topping, homemade slice. The Bartender hands you a number and you grab a table near the stage under a Sex Pistols styled piece of artwork on the wall that reads “God Save The Drink…The Hood”.
Punk just got cooler.
This DIY home away from home for many Coachella Valley residents has flourished since opening its doors five years ago. Having grown up in the area, then attending the University of Arizona, owners Patrick and Colin Hood wanted to open a place that would have a great local vibe.
“We wanted to stay local and saw how effective music was for our place,” Patrick Hood explains.
The first band ever booked was Los Angeles heavy metal band Hellion, and Foster the People came to play during Coachella in 2010, before they exploded in 2011.
The brothers moved to a larger location in the summer of 2011 to accommodate the music scene they were becoming known for both amongst musicians and the local music fans.
Brandon Henderson, who is a musician and worked with Fat Records, became the booking agent at The Hood in December 2011.
“Bands like Agent Orange, Adolescents, Super Suckers, Modern English, were bands I loved and sought out to play.” Henderson says.
Henderson’s guidance has allowed The Hood to flourish into an even stronger, multi-faceted music scene. This weekend, Strung Out will play Dec. 21 along with Voodoo Glow Skulls and Assuming We Survive Drop the World.
A young punk rocker hands you dinner. As you chomp down on the deliciously fresh “slice” of pizza that is larger than the paper plate it comes on, you wonder if the walls could talk, what would they say?
Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedy’s) has body surfed from stage to bar, Dick Dale has roused all ages with his 1960s surf tunes, and LA’s Mickey Avalon has rapped some rhymes. The artists couldn’t be more different, yet all come for the same reasons – they love this place.
Wondering around through the dancing crowd as the headliners play a jamming, original set, there are options of playing pool or puffing a smoke out on the enormous back patio area. Watching the band is priority, but what is this “Musician’s Only” room off to the side of the stage?
Behind the scenes, the green room is a gem. Henderson proudly shows you how well musicians are treated here. Spacious and stocked with a mini fridge, free food, video games, and the plushest couches ever. It is very chill.
One can’t help but hear the war stories come from Terry Reid’s mouth as he sat on this couch and spoke of how he was asked by Jimmy Paige to be singer in his new group, Led Zeppelin, but Reid declined.
It’s not just the famous acts, or the offshoot bands from Queen of Stone Age or Eagles of Death Metal members that attracts the local music lovers here. The local bands, like the one playing this night, Caxton (pictured right), also bring down the house.
They run into the Green Room as the crowd cheers loudly from the other side of the door. They banter, smile and decide what encore to play. The energy of excitement is contagious between them and their audience.
As they go back out to give it their all one last time, the crowd cheers even louder. You run back out after the group to be a part of something more, to be a part of something bigger, to be part of a magical musical moment.
You are now a part of something cool, and even better, something in your hood.